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Good search engine marketers tend to have evolved with the popularity of web search. So those with hands on experience and staying power can go back ten years or more. Stay away from the Johnny come lately companies that promise the moon. Remember the size and polish of the SEO company is no measure of capability. A Toronto Bay Street address and an Armani suit can tell more about who they are chasing than what they can do for you. After all that expensive lease on the Bay Street real estate has to get paid for somehow, and it is ultimately worked into the price you pay - nothing comes for free. Let the big national companies pick up the agency aligned seo providers that show up in a suit everyday for hand holding and meetings and deliver little in the way of tangible results. Small and medium business doesn't have the luxury of unlimited resources and results and value should be driving the decision making process.

Here is a top 10 point list of criteria questions that can act as a guide in your SEO provider evaluation.

1/ How long have they been in business serving the Toronto region?

2/ Is learning your business and evaluating competitors part of the SEO service?

3/ Are search engine optimization programs bundled and fixed price or are they acting as consultants that will take you to the cleaners with ongoing costs?

4/ Can they place their own site for Toronto search engine optimization, Ontario search engine optimization etc.?

5/ Do they have multiple at arms length customer testimonials that you can contact?

6/ Do they have a number of top placing sites on the first page that can be verified with multiple high traffic short tail keyword searches (no more than two keywords in a phrase)?

7/ Can they demonstrate sites that have failed with other SEO companies that they have turned into a success story?

8/ Do their program rates represent excellent comparable value?

9/ Do they have the capability to deal with all search engine marketing requirements in house or are they subbing out or worse still pushing projects offshore?

10/ Is search engine marketing their main business or are they dabbling in print, graphic design and other forms of advertising media?

We can't emphasise enough the importance of choosing a company that can place their own website. Chances are almost 100% that if they can't get their own site placing for "Toronto search engine marketing", "Ontario search engine marketing", "Toronto search engine optimization" or "Ontario search engine optimization" then they won't be able to place your site! If they meet the above criteria and they can place first page on these search terms than they are worthy of your consideration. Otherwise give them a pass and pat yourself on the back for not tempting fate.

If the company can only be found on paid Google Ad Words listings walk away. What SEO company has to pay for ad impressions to market their own service?

Last but not least ... run, don't walk away from any search engine marketer than provides you with a "placement guarantee" or top placement in a very short period of time. It doesn't work that way - no one can predict exact outcome with so many factors and competitors at play. How can someone make a guarantee before they have sized up your competition? There are plenty of so called SEO providers that are essentially selling snake oil.

So let's cut to the chase - who are some of the search engine placement companies that consistently meet the above criteria? Here is a Top 5 SEO list that is a guideline based on ability to place their own site across Google, Bing, Yahoo and ASK and those that have been in business for a number of years, with good customer testimonials. Check them all out and happy hunting!





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